Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Opera scrub Domingo concerts

World | 14 Aug 2019 1:00 pm

The Philadelphia Orchestra and San Francisco Opera announced they would cancel upcoming performances featuring the Spanish tenor Placido Domingo, regarded as one of the greatest opera singers of all time.

In canceling its invitation for Domingo to sing at its September 18 opening gala, the Philadelphia Orchestra issued a statement saying: “We are committed to providing a safe, supportive, respectful, and appropriate environment for the orchestra and staff, for collaborating artists and composers, and for our audiences and communities.”

The San Francisco Opera said it would scrub a sold-out October 6 concert featuring Domingo, which had been to mark his 50th anniversary with the company. It was promoted as a “special one performance-only event” with “one of the most influential singing actors in the history of opera” and was one of several gala events this year to celebrate his legendary career.

The Met held a black-tie dinner in April for Domingo, where seats started at US$2,500. He is scheduled to play the lead of “Macbeth” in three Met shows in September and October.

“We take accusations of sexual harassment and abuse of power with extreme seriousness,” the opera house said in a statement, noting that “Mr. Domingo has never been in a position to influence casting decisions for anyone other than himself” at the Met.

At the Salzburg Festival in Austria, where Domingo is scheduled to appear August 31 — his next scheduled performance — festival president Helga Rabl-Stadler said organizers agreed he should appear as planned.

“I have known Placido Domingo for more than 25 years,” Rabl-Stadler said in a statement. “In addition to his artistic competence, I was impressed from the very beginning by his appreciative treatment of all festival employees.”

“I would find it factually wrong and morally irresponsible to make irreversible judgments at this point,” she said.

Domingo served as artistic director for the Washington Opera from 1996-2003 and as the company’s general director from 2003 to 2011, during which time its name was changed to Washington National Opera. In 2011, the company merged with the Kennedy Center.

In a joint statement to AP, the institutions said the allegations against Domingo predated the merger.

“The Kennedy Center did not receive any documented complaints about Mr. Domingo’s behavior prior to WNO’s affiliation with the Kennedy Center, and we have not received any since then,” the statement said, adding that the company has “zero tolerance policies with regard to harassment, discrimination or abuse of any kind, and we take allegations of this nature very seriously.”-AP


 

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